Review: The Return of Ulysses (Opera Atelier)

20180417OA_Ulysses-Dress

First performed in 1639, The Return of Ulysses by Claudio Monteverdi is currently being produced by Opera Atelier. It is one of the earliest operas you are likely to see performed on a 21st century stage. The timelessness of the universally known story likely has something to do with the works ongoing popularity. It is based on the second half of Homer’s Odyssey, wherein Ulysses (Odysseus), the King of Ithaca returns home to his faithful wife Penelope. In order to reclaim his kingdom and his wife, he must fight off three evil suitors with a little help and hindrance from the gods. The Opera Atelier production is beautifully rendered and as usual, a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. Continue reading Review: The Return of Ulysses (Opera Atelier)

Review: I And You (Outlook Theatre)

I and You is “powerful”, “gut-wrenching”, “beautiful”, on stage at the Tarragon in Toronto

Lauren Gunderson’s I and You, an Outlook Theatre production now playing at the Tarragon Extraspace, falls squarely into the teen “sick-lit” genre of books like The Fault In Our Stars, where chronically, seriously ill high schoolers are humanized and given a chance to speak, explore life and death, and even find love.

Gunderson was the most-produced playwright in America (save Shakespeare) by far this past year, and it’s clear why. Her play is witty and self-aware; it’s charming, well-constructed and features nuanced, likable characters that challenge our assumptions and stereotypes about both teenagers and the chronically ill. It feels very safe and comforting, with enough theatrical flourish to bely that safety and not seem generic.

Continue reading Review: I And You (Outlook Theatre)

Review: Fun Home (Mirvish/The Musical Stage Co.)

Mirvish brings the Tony Award winning new musical Fun Home to Toronto audiences

Fun Home, currently playing at the CAA Theatre, is one of those musicals that defies easy description. It’s so full of contradictions. At once funny and heartbreaking, uplifting and tragic, elegant and chaotic, it nevertheless balances all of these elements with expert precision and utter commitment to all of the messy, complex layers of its central plot: a lesbian cartoonist attempts to draw a true, authentic portrayal of her gay father, and in doing so must confront the fact that he killed himself a mere four months after she came out to her family.

Simply put, Fun Home feels like something new and innovative in the musical theatre world, and has since it originally opened on Broadway. This Canadian production absolutely upholds the reputation of the multi-award winning show (which includes the 2015 Tony for Best Musical). Continue reading Review: Fun Home (Mirvish/The Musical Stage Co.)

Review: The Nightingale and Other Fables (Canadian Opera Company)

Opera blends with puppetry in a breathtaking performance captivating Toronto audiences

The Nightingale and Other Fables (Canadian Opera Company) is a hauntingly beautiful production that innovatively weaves several short works by Igor Stravinsky into an integrated dramatic presentation. It is comprised of song cycles, short stories and instrumental pieces that are dramatized through puppetry, culminating in Stravinsky’s charming opera The Nightingale. Crafted by celebrated Canadian stage director Robert Lepage, The Nightingale and Other Short Fables is rapidly becoming part of the 21st Century operatic canon internationally. Continue reading Review: The Nightingale and Other Fables (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: Risky Phil (Young People’s Theatre)

Brave the weather for Risky Phil, now on stage in Toronto

My young guest and I headed out to see Risky Phil–a new play by Paula Wing, currently on stage at Young People’s Theatre–in the middle of an April ice storm. We thought it was a little crazy to be venturing outside, but the TTC gods smiled on us , and we arrived safely. In the end, we were glad we made the effort: Risky Phil is a charming play about fathers and sons, friendship, and figuring out how to be a family when your trust has been broken. Continue reading Review: Risky Phil (Young People’s Theatre)

Playlistings in Toronto for the week of April 16th

Shows That Caught Our Eye in Toronto the Week of April 16th, 2018

Toronto live theatre for the week of April 16th, 2018. On Toronto’s stages this week are some wild, wacky, and wondrous women, drunken Shakespeare characters, and a whole host of new shows. Our Assistant Editor Jess is on hand with a few of her top picks in red. Check them out below the cut:

Continue reading Playlistings in Toronto for the week of April 16th

Review: Le Menteur (Théâtre Français de Toronto)

Photo of Le MenteurThéâtre français de Toronto’s new play Le Menteur is a fast-paced, hilarious romp

There’s lying and then there’s lying. Théâtre français de Toronto‘s Le Menteur playing at the Berkeley Street Theatre gives a tongue-in-cheek lesson to its audience on how to spin a tale.

And if you want a fun time at the theatre, this is one lesson I guarantee you’ll want to see for yourselves.

Continue reading Review: Le Menteur (Théâtre Français de Toronto)

Review: Addicted (ADEDO Collective with The Watah Theatre)

Raven Dauda performs her new one-woman show Addicted in Toronto

Addicted, a new one-woman show produced by ADEDO Collective with The Watah Theatre is a confessional and spiritual exploration of intergenerational substance abuse stemming from colonial trauma that straddles the line between realism and surrealism. The use of mime, physical comedy, wry humour, storytelling and puppetry created a united whole that cuts a little too close to the bone emotionally. Continue reading Review: Addicted (ADEDO Collective with The Watah Theatre)

Review: Love and Information (Canadian Stage Company)

Toronto’s Canadian Stage presents Caryl Churchill’s play Love and Information

I adore the work of playwright Caryl Churchill. First and foremost, it is provocative on an intellectual level, best appreciated if you’re consciously drawn to the ideas contained in dramatic situations. She favours non-naturalistic devices that prompt the audience to engage—consciously—with the mechanics of theatrical presentation, to examine language and movement, notice patterns and reflect upon them. Because of this, her text can be tricky to sell—emotionally. With masterful precision, Canadian Stage Company’s production of Love and Information allows all the ideas to sizzle and pop with fiery life. Continue reading Review: Love and Information (Canadian Stage Company)